There have been flypasts to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe, but we had a better flypast, I think. We were sitting reading when I heard birdsong. Very loud birdsong and I was sure I recognised it. I ran out to see a pair of birds circling low over my head, and they spiralled up and up until they disappeared. I checked my birdsong app and I was right; they were skylarks.

I haven’t heard skylarks for some years and they’ve always been high in the sky. Lovely to have them so close – and goodness, they have really loud voices.

I didn’t do any mowing because I weeded the long bed between the drive and the wall instead. A lot of nettles, deadnettles, dandelions and goosegrass and, unfortunately, some brambles too. I’ve nearly finished but I’ll complete the job tomorrow and top dress the bed with manure.

The second highlight of the day was the coq au vin we had for dinner. One of our favourite places to have lunch is a farm shop on the road to Norwich. They have Jersey cows and let their calves stay with the mothers, there are various birds strutting about – peacocks, geese, ducks, guinea fowl and so on – and they have Large Black pigs, chickens and I don’t know what else. Since the lockdown, they’ve increased the range of what they sell in the shop, so I’ve been able to get yeast and various flours that I couldn’t get elsewhere. It’s the first anniversary of them opening their restaurant, so they decided to do takeaway meals. There were pulled pork rolls, falafels, fishcakes or coq au vin, with appropriate vegetables; to be booked in advance for a timed pick-up slot. I was the last customer as it happened, because we don’t tend to eat until at least 8 o’clock and they were serving until 7.30.

The sweet girl who served me said that she had worked since 7 o’clock this morning. The country seems to be divided between those who have little to do and those who are working absurdly long hours. I am in the former camp so spend all I can to make the hours worthwhile for the others. But actually, the £10 per head was a steal. We’ve eaten about half the food and have both casserole and vegetables enough for another day.

I’m not too good at the clapping, cheering or celebrating stuff, I’m afraid. I know it helps many people but, in times of stress, I tend to withdraw into myself. Being cheerful and reasonably positive is an achievement and, sometimes, an effort. So I’m glad I don’t live somewhere that my absence would look like a pointed statement, because it wouldn’t be, but I’m too far off the road to be noticed, one way or the other.

4 comments on “Skylarking

  1. Glenda

    I feel the same in stressful times. I totally withdraw and actually , if I let myself, I would not get out of bed.
    Your farm eatery sounds nice. No such options here. Only fast food chains.

    1. Z Post author

      When I was on my own after Russell died, sometimes I just sat for hours. I couldn’t do anything. It was very annoying because there was a lot to be done. but I just needed stillness and silence.
      We are so lucky, there are several farms with shops as well as independent food shops and they’re all doing their very best to keep people supplied. They must be exhausted, they’re so busy and work long hours.

  2. Blue Witch

    This media-led applause for those working for the NHS while forgetting everyone else working their socks off for much less money, less PPE, no ‘golden hours’ and ‘queue jumping’ in supermarkets, no gifts from the public/companies, and absolutely no public recognition is really, really annoying me.

    Actually, they’re just doing their jobs. Many other people have had to totally alter what they do, and are doing it cheerfully, thoughtfully and conscientiously, and for many more hours than they are paid.

    1. Z Post author

      Well, on the local Facebook page, many other workers are mentioned appreciatively. I’ve read accounts of people who survived serious illness from this disease who’ve said that it’s the nurses’ devotion to duty that pulled them through and I’ve no reason to doubt it. I agree that there are many other workers who have been at risk, especially London bus drivers and care home workers and it must be frightening to go to work and feel vulnerable. It’s not that I want to be unappreciative of any group, just that I’m not good with noise at present.


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